I learnt this recipe from my ma in law. This had been a special dish reserved for special lunches as the process was considered elaborate in a joint family. We used to stuff more than 50 brinjals, yet we enjoyed doing this as we always did this together and never felt tiring as we would have thought about it before we started.
The dish turns out perfect every time we make it and unlike the other dishes, this one is relished from the youngest till the oldest in the family! Even the brinjal haters enjoy this!
Preparation of the dish is never an elaborate one, if you start with a dozen or even two of those baby brinjals. The powder can be made prior and can be stored until you make the stir-fry and hence this becomes as easy as any vegetable side dish you make any day!
(to serve a family of four)
Baby brinjals /kutty kathrikkai -25 numbers (weighs330 gms / about 3/4 lbs)
For the powder for stuffing, (yields 1/2 cup)
Oil- a tsp
Coriander seeds / kothamalli - 1/4 cup scant
Bengal gram dal / kadalai paruppu - 1/4 cup scant
Red chillies/ kayntha milagai 4-5 numbers
Curry leaves / karuveppilai - 2 sprigs
Cumin seeds-1/4 tsp (optional) I didn't add
1-2 tbsps of oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tsp urad dal
2-3 tbsps of thinly sliced small onions
2 sprigs of curry leaves
Now, for the step by step method...
Drizzle a tsp of oil in your thick bottomed wok and fry the coriander seeds, dal, chillies and curry leaves all added together in medium heat ...
Pulse into a coarse powder adding salt.
Ah!well, I used my Ammikkallu to powder as I had a power shut down while making lunch!
I can't tell you how much I hate doing this but had no other go even while I accept the perfectness of hand pounded powders!
So now, you need to slit the baby brinjals as you see here. Check for worms while you do this and slice away the portions if you come across any!
Stuff the slits with the powder, as much as you can.
and arrange them carefully on your steamer plate with the brinjals placed horizontally or the stuffed sides slightly up. I used my rice cooker and idly steamer plate combo for steam cooking.
Close with an appropriate lid to lock the steam while cooking.
Check after 10 minutes. The brinjals should have turned soft
and the purple ones would have turned ash green as well. Scroll up to that picture where I've arranged them before steaming and you can notice the difference in colour!
For seasoning, heat oil in the previous wok, crackle the mustard seeds, brown the urad dal, sauté onions and curry leaves and stir in the brinjals sautéing for a minute . The caramelized onions and the curry leaves coat the brinjals and the flavour is irresistible!
The stove top brinjals could not be photographed well while seasoning because of poor lighting. So here's a quick view of the finished dish placed on the counter edge.
Stuffed brinjals are served best with steamed rice and Indian breads!
But did I tell you I love to have them as a starter drenched in hot and sweet tomato chilly ketchup??
I could hardly wait to devour this one as soon the shot got over! ;)